Highways Clog Lake Tahoe with Toxins

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Apr 22, 2011  |  Updated 1:16 PM PDT
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Highways Clog Lake Tahoe with Toxins

Diving into Tahoe is not bad for your health.

After years of contamination, new regulations will finally clean Lake Tahoe to levels not enjoyed in decades.

The problem stems from heavy human development, according to the Gate. Construction projects around the lake have eliminated much-needed wetlands that contain pollution. In addition, sand and salt deposited on roadways has a major impact on water quality.

It's been difficult to address the ever-worsening water quality, since there is no single contributor. Instead, chemicals have been infiltrating the lake from many small sources.

Among the proposed measures to improve water quality: better water treatment facilities, pollution-trapping plants, limiting harmful de-icing substances, installing ponds to capture and filter water, and providing non-vehicular transportation options.

The new rules would cut pollution by a third, affecting a wide range of state agencies. But many questions still remain, not the least of which is how to pay for he new measures.

It's estimated that it will cost $1.5 billion to undo the damage of the last few decades' worth of careless, low-density growth propagated by the Tahoe Regional Planning Authority.

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